For most of us, when we marry our partner, we marry our partner’s family, too. We become co-mingled with our in-laws, sharing holidays, special events and traditions. When children come along, grandparents can become heavily invested in their grandchildren’s lives, enjoying many playdates, sleepovers and adventures together.
Such a connection can make divorce all the more difficult. You may have reasons for preferring that your children spend less time with your ex’s parents. While it is expected that you and your ex will need to negotiate a parental agreement that includes visitation and custody rights, you may not realize that grandparents may also attempt to legally pursue their own visitation rights.
The court may grant grandparents visitation rights in certain circumstances
In general, fostering a relationship between your children and their grandparents offers many benefits. Due to this, the court may choose to grant reasonable visitation access to your ex’s parents unless you can prove that doing so may put the children in harm’s way or if visitation would otherwise not serve the best interest of your children.
In Georgia, the courts may grant grandparents visitation rights if:
- Your child lived with their grandparents for six months or longer
- Your ex’s parents provided financial support for your children’s basic needs for at least one year
- Your children had an established pattern of regular visits or your ex’s parents provided frequent childcare
- There are other circumstances that demonstrate how denial of visitation could reasonably result in some form of emotional or physical harm to your children
It can be frustrating and difficult to divorce both your ex and their family. Still, no matter how much you want to separate from them and move forward with your life, it’s important to remember that when it comes to your children, what is in their best interest must ultimately guide the court’s decisions. If granting your children’s grandparents visitation rights will prevent undue harm from coming to them, then coming to an agreement that everyone can live with is best.